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City of Bones, by Martha Wells

Review copy provided by the publisher.

This is a re-release of a novel first released in 1995. The promotional copy notes that this is the author’s preferred text; I don’t have the original edition, so I can’t make comparisons between the two and say what has changed and whether I like it better or worse than the original. In some senses the question is moot for me. This is the edition in front of me; this is what I’m reviewing.

The titular city is one of desert wastes and technological fantastika. This is a world past its golden age, a world full of relics and mysteries. Khat is from a race of humanoids often not considered fully human though deeply humane in his own instincts; Elen is a Warder, powerful in her own sphere but unable to penetrate some important areas to retrieve artefacts of interest. Together they–well, there appears to be more committing than fighting of crime, from some points of view. But together they muddle through. Get double crossed. And find themselves an unlikely team in the face of a still more unlikely threat.

The role of relics and their forgeries in all of this was the strongest part of the book for me. It’s an engaging enough science fantasy but not my favorite of her works–but then, that’s a pretty high bar to clear at this point, and not a choice anybody should be pushed into making.

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